why do ice hockey players not wear mouthguards

why do ice hockey players not wear mouthguards

Ice hockey is a popular sport that requires players to wear protective gear to prevent injuries. However, one piece of protective gear that is not commonly worn by players is mouthguards. This raises the question: why do ice hockey players not wear mouthguards?

History of Mouthguards in Ice Hockey

Mouthguards were not always a part of ice hockey gear. In fact, they were not required until the 1970s. Even then, they were only required for junior players. It wasn’t until the 1980s that mouthguards became mandatory for all players in the NHL. However, this rule was later revoked due to concerns about players’ ability to communicate on the ice.

Reasons for Not Wearing Mouthguards

why do ice hockey players not wear mouthguards


One of the primary reasons that ice hockey players do not wear mouthguards is because they can interfere with communication on the ice. Hockey players need to be able to communicate quickly and effectively with their teammates, and a mouthguard can make it difficult to do so.


Mouthguards can also be uncomfortable to wear, especially for players who have braces or other dental appliances. They can also cause difficulty breathing, which can be a problem for players who need to exert themselves on the ice.


Another reason that ice hockey players may not wear mouthguards is because of the cost. Mouthguards can be expensive, especially if they need to be custom-fitted by a dentist. Some players may not be able to afford this expense, especially if they are playing at a lower level or are not being paid to play.

Unproven Effectiveness

There is also some debate about the effectiveness of mouthguards in preventing injuries. While they can help prevent dental injuries, they may not be as effective in preventing concussions or other head injuries. Some players may feel that the discomfort and inconvenience of wearing a mouthguard is not worth the potential benefits.

Cultural Norms

Finally, it is worth noting that not wearing a mouthguard has become somewhat of a cultural norm in ice hockey. Many players simply do not wear them because they have never worn them before and do not see the need to start. This can create a cycle where new players are not encouraged to wear mouthguards, perpetuating the trend.


While mouthguards are an important piece of protective gear in many sports, they are not commonly worn by ice hockey players. There are a variety of reasons for this, including concerns about communication, comfort, cost, effectiveness, and cultural norms. Ultimately, the decision to wear a mouthguard is up to individual players and their coaches, but it is important to consider the potential risks and benefits of doing so.

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